NATO Shakedown, Abolish ICE, The Supremes, Gas Tax Revolt and More! | Look At News Daily  (July 7-13/Day 168-174) Week 25

By Michael Hernandez

 

July 7 (Saturday):  Day 168

New York Times editorial cites Godfather to stop President Trump

The New York Times editorial board is calling on Democrats to use mafia tactics from The Godfather to stop President Trump from filling a Supreme Court vacancy.

Using language that appears to not only condone, but to encourage violence, the editorial board writes:  “Barring some unforeseen development, the president will lock in a 5-to-4 conservative majority, shifting the court solidly to the right for a generation. This is all the more reason for Democrats and progressives to take a page from “The Godfather” and go to the mattresses on this issue.

The New York Times describes this editorial as a “call to arms” and adds that the “fire now raging against Mr. Trump and his nominees can’t be sustained indefinitely.”

Meanwhile, Breitbart News has documented (as of July 7) 190 acts (this list continues to be updated) of media-approved violence and harassment against Trump and his supporters during the last 31 months.

 

July 8 (Sunday):  Day 169

Prime Minister Theresa May kills Brexit

Brexit is dead –  strangled at the weekend by Prime Minister Theresa May. All the ministers in the Cabinet were hauled up to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country residence, where their phones were confiscated and humiliated by having their official car confiscated and required to walk to the train station via the mile-long drive, or catch a cab, with a £67,000 pay cut.

In June 2016, 17.4 million people — more than had ever voted for anything in British history — voted Brexit to free themselves.  The vote for Brexit, made the political class uncomfortable: first, that the poorer you are, the more likely it is that you voted to Leave; and secondly, that most people voted Leave in order that Britain might assume greater sovereign control over her borders and her law-making. This was a fairly working-class revolt against the dilution of British sovereignty by Brussels.

July 9 (Monday):  Day 170

President Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court justice

President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington to succeed Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh serves on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which often rules on major challenges to federal laws and policies. If confirmed, he would make the Supreme Court solidly conservative, joining Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch — providing a five-vote majority.

Kavanaugh would be sure to join the conservatives more often than Kennedy, who sometimes voted with the court’s liberals in cases raising hot-button social issues.  Kavanaugh was nominated to the appeals court by President George W. Bush and confirmed in 2006 by a vote of 57-36. Four Supreme Court justices have come from the D.C. Circuit in recent years — John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.

Kavanaugh, 53, was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up nearby in Maryland, where his mother became a state court judge. After graduating from Yale University and Yale law school, he clerked for two federal judges and then for Kennedy.

In 1993, he served a one-year fellowship at the Justice Department working for Solicitor General Kenneth Starr. A year later, when Starr was appointed independent counsel, Kavanaugh became a key staff member in the investigations of the death of White House Counsel Vincent Foster and the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals. He helped write Starr’s report to Congress that laid out 11 possible grounds for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

Following a brief period in private law practice, he became Bush’s White House counsel and then staff secretary before he was nominated to be a federal judge. He met his wife, Ashley, while working at the White House where she was the president’s personal secretary. They have two daughters.

Noting Kavanaugh’s political connections, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at Kavanaugh’s 2006 confirmation hearing, “If there has been a partisan political fight that needed a very bright foot soldier in the last decade, Brett Kavanaugh was probably there.”

In a 2009 law review article, Kavanaugh said his experience in the White House persuaded him that “the job of president is far more difficult than any other civilian position in government” and that presidents should be exempt from civil lawsuits and criminal investigations or prosecutions while in office. But he wrote that such a change would require Congress to pass appropriate legislation.

Even if that happened, he wrote, the Constitution would provide a check against a law breaker in the Oval Office. “If the president does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available,” Kavanaugh wrote.

He enjoys widespread support from conservatives, though he was not on the original list of potential Supreme Court nominees released during the Trump campaign. His name was added last November.

Two of his court opinions, however, generated criticism from some conservatives that he did not go far enough in opposing Obama-era policies. In 2011, when his court upheld Obamacare, he wrote a dissent that said a federal law should have prevented the court from deciding the case. His critics said he should have concluded instead that Obamacare was unconstitutional.

More recently, Kavanaugh took a pragmatic approach during a high-profile court battle involving a teenager arrested for illegally crossing the southern border into the U.S. The appeals court ruled that she could temporarily leave immigration detention for an abortion.  In his dissent, Kavanaugh said the Trump administration conceded that the teen had a right to an abortion, but he argued that the court was wrong to conclude that she had the right “to an immediate abortion on demand.” He said delaying the procedure until she could be released to a U.S. sponsor would not impose an undue burden on the abortion right.

By contrast, one of his conservative colleagues on the court went further, writing that the woman had no right to an abortion at all because she entered the country illegally and was not a U.S. citizen.

The average time between a Supreme Court justice’s nomination and confirmation is about 11 weeks. If Kavanaugh’s experience follows that pattern, he could be on the court in time to prepare for the opening of the next term, on the first Monday in October.

Republicans push Proposition 6 to overturn California gas tax

Republicans in the Golden State believe a ballot measure that would repeal Gov. Jerry Brown’s 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax, known as Proposition 6, could be the key to reviving their party’s fortunes in California — and to preventing Democrats from winning the key congressional races they need to win back control of the U.S. House in November. California is reportedly home to the highest average gas prices in the United States.

Democrats, are bashing the Republican-backed gas-tax repeal effort. “This is their Hail Mary, to try to use this repeal of the road-repair measure to light a fire under their voters,” California Democratic Party chair Eric Bauman told Politico. As for the GOP’s long-term prospects in the state, he added: “Here’s the reality: They don’t have any voters.”

Democrats have targeted several Republican-held districts in California, particularly in Orange County, where Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) are retiring. Meanwhile, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Mimi Walters (R-CA) are also facing challenges to their seats.

Former San Diego city council member Carl DeMaio, a Republican who came out as gay several years ago, reportedly announced this week that he has raised over $1.1 million online for his campaign to repeal the gas tax. A poll conducted by USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times in May suggests the repeal may be headed for victory in November, with over 50 percent of registered voters saying they would vote for it.

John Cox, the Republican challenger to Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has also made the gas tax repeal the focus of his campaign against Newsom. Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) is the original author of the repeal the gas tax measure. He ran for governor but did not qualify for the general election.

Gavin Newsom backing away from single-payer healthcare

California’s Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom seems to be backing away from a single-payer healthcare policy — after progressive Democrats helped deliver him a victory in the California primary last month with a social justice manifesto called “Defending California’s Values” that promised progressives universal single payer healthcare, stiffer gun control, criminal justice reform, open borders, paid family leave, $20 an hour living wage, universal pre-K schools, and other wish-list items.

The Los Angeles Times called the single-payer healthcare system, a galvanizing cause among the state’s progressive bloc. The strongest progressive contingent for single payer are the California Nurses Associations, who were early Newsom backers and demanded that he deliver on a universal healthcare pledge.

Meanwhile, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimate that the policy would cost $400 billion per year, or about $10,000 per person. The LAO estimates that funding a new single payer plan, with no co-pays or deductibles for all residents, including illegal aliens, would require an additional 15 percent payroll tax on all employed Californians.

Politico reported that Democrats are being warned that the disruptive costs of universal single payer health care could negatively impact Democratic candidates in competitive races across the nation in 2018. As a result, Democratic Party candidates were advised to use the words “Medicare for all” and not use the words “single payer.”

Deployed California soldiers unable to register “assault weapons”

California’s method of registration required for “assault weapons” means soldiers deployed during the registration process were unable to enter their firearms into system. As a result, those military personnel now run the risk of losing their firearms and could even face criminal charges for possessing unregistered weapons.

The NRA-ILA reports:  “The CA DOJ’s chosen method of requiring all applications to be submitted online and include photographs of the firearms has prohibited many members of the military currently on deployment from registering. Because many members of the military were required to leave their personally owned firearms at home while on deployment, they were unable to obtain the required photographs for registration. And for those who somehow managed to obtain the required photographs, they were still faced with CA DOJ’s online registration system consistently crashing. Failure to register could lead to criminal charges. And the NRA-ILA makes clear these charges could be felonies.”

 

July 10 (Tuesday):  Day 171

NBC News pushes conspiracy theory on new SCOTUS appointment

NBC News is spreading an unfounded conspiracy theory that claims President Trump and newly retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cut a secret deal that ensured Brett Kavanaugh would be chosen as Kennedy’s replacement.

Here is how NBC’s Capitol Hill reporter, Leigh Ann Caldwell, spread this conspiracy Tuesday morning. Her first tweet read:  “On Kavanaugh pick Kennedy and Trump/WH had been in negotiations for months over Kennedy’s replacement. Once Kennedy received assurances that it would be Kavanaugh, his former law clerk, Kennedy felt comfortable retiring, according to a source who was told of the discussions.”

Later, Caldwell deleted her conspiracy theory tweet, but only after her fake news went all around the world.

Arizona Cardinals owner attacked for supporting SCOTUS nominee

Liberals are piling on Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill for posting a note of support for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, on his team website.

Bidwill’s explained that he supports Kavanaugh because he has known the judge since they were in high school in the 1980s. Bidwill’s note carefully avoided any mention of politics, saying only that he is only vouching for Kavanaugh’s character.

“The purpose of the letter is to talk about Brett as a person,” Darren Urban of the Cardinals team website said. “We have known him and known what a brilliant mind he has. He’s eminently qualified. I think now that he’s been selected by the President, he will go through a thorough vetting process, and as they go through that process, they will learn about the great person we know. He is a man of high character, high intelligence, excellence, and independence,” Urban added.

“We want to speak up and show our support as former classmates and long-time friends. I’ve known him for more than 37 years,” Bidwill wrote. “We stayed in close contact over the years – we have a pretty tight high school class – and we all knew Brett was pretty special. He’s got a sharp mind. He’s been a brilliant jurist for a long time.”

Also endorsing Brett Kavanaugh was New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, who attended Georgetown Prep at the same time along with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in the 1980s as well as 10 other classmates.

NFL players union files grievance protesting owners response to anthem

Citing the First Amendment rights of their players, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) officially filed a grievance against the NFL to protest the recent rule meant to put an end to player protests during the playing of the national anthem.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the NFLPA slammed the league for implementing the rule without first consulting with the union. “The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights,” the NFLPA said according to CBS Sports. “In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions, and we look forward to starting them soon.”

President rejoices in Thailand cave rescue

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump rejoiced Tuesday in the completed rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a deep cave in Thailand.

“On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand,” said Trump: President Trump called the rescue “such a beautiful moment – all freed, great job!”

First Lady Melania joined her husband in celebrating the multi-national efforts to rescue the 12 boys trapped with their coach more than two miles into the extremely dangerous cave: “Wonderful to hear all 12 boys & their coach are out of the cave in #Thailand, wrote Mrs. Trump. “What an amazing & heroic global effort! Wishing them all a speedy recovery.”

The boys and their coach were trapped when trying to evade flood waters that rose while they were on a team hike. They were stranded for more than a week before being found. Despite being located, the team was still stuck, as even expert divers were challenged by the route between the boys and the mouth of the cave.

Several options for rescue were considered, but as oxygen availability inside the cave became a pressing concern, rescuers decided to attempt to guide the boys and their coach out through the more than two miles of perilous cave path.  The boys and coach were taken out in several batches of extractions over several days that concluded on Tuesday. All remaining rescue team members in the cave after the team and coach were extracted were also able to get out on Tuesday. Rescued boys were taken to the hospital. One rescuer tragically died last week as rescue teams worked toward plans to extract the team.

 

July 11 (Wednesday):  Day 172

California counties seek to abolish immigration agency

Contra Costa County has reportedly become the latest county in Northern California in the past month to sever its contract with the federal government’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to jail illegal aliens at a Richmond jail over rising costs and pushback against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Last month, the Sacramento County jail also cut ties with ICE. And in December, Monterey County cut ties to the law enforcement agency.

Some Democrats are calling on the government to “abolish ICE,” while Hollywood actress-turned-New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon tweeted has begun referring to ICE as a “terrorist organization.”

Trump supporters, meanwhile, believe that the Democrats’ attacks on ICE will backfire.

Dilbert creator and cartoonist Scott Adams reportedly suggested President Trump should rename ICE to the “National Immigration and Customs Enforcement” so that when Democrats try to abolish it, they would be getting rid of “NICE.”

President Trump puts pressure on NATO allies

U.S. President Donald J. Trump has suggested that NATO allies not just hit the bare-minimum spending level required of members of the alliance, but double their spending beyond that.

According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “During the President’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of two percent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to four percent. The President raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year. “President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”

The President doubled down on his remarks very shortly afterwards when he took to Twitter to insist his NATO allies up their game immediately, writing: “Why are their only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”

The comments come as fellow NATO leaders sought to excuse their low levels of spending, with major economies like France spending 1.8 per cent, and Germany spending just 1.2 per cent.

President Trump was blunt, calling out Germany for taking from NATO with one hand while giving to Russia with the other. Bringing up the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe and how dependent it will make Germany and other European nations on imported Russian gas — which in a crisis could easily be turned off at source by the Russian government as happened with Crimea — the President said Germany was becoming “captive to Russia”.

The President said: “…it is very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes and pays out billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia. We’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries.”

Trump continued: “The former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas… Germay is totally controlled by Russia — they will be getting 60-70 per cent of their energy and a new pipeline… I think it’s not [appropriate] and it’s a very bad thing for NATO…. I think we have to talk to Germany about that. And by the way, Germany is just paying a bit over one per cent, whereas the United States is paying in actual numbers 4.2 per cent of actual GDP towards defense.”

 

July 12 (Thursday):  Day 173

Trump:  NATO members to “substantially” increase defense commitments

President Donald J. Trump appeared to have met his key objectives for the Brussels NATO summit Thursday, revealing that alliance members would “substantially” increase their commitments, and much faster than previously planned.

The comments came at a surprise press conference called after an emergency session of NATO ally leaders Thursday morning. The meeting had begun as a planned multilateral discussion between NATO, Georgia, and Ukraine, but Trump’s insistence on discussing the poor state of defense funding among the majority of members led to alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg declaring the meeting an “emergency session”.

Foreign leaders including those of Ukraine, Georgia, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had to leave the room, which was then restricted to the most senior leaders of NATO member nations.

Speaking after the conclusion of the meeting, President Trump said that while he had expressed to his fellow world leaders that he was “extremely unhappy”, he hailed them for having agreed to “substantially up their commitment”.

The President said: “We’ve accomplished a lot with respect to NATO… everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment, they are going to up it to levels they never thought of before.”

On Wednesday, the President said that far from hitting the two per cent minimum all NATO members had agreed in 2014 to pay for defense, they should actually be working towards four per cent. This would mean some key NATO allies such as Germany would have to more than triple their defense budgets.

Democrats will get to vote on abolishing immigration agency

GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says the Democrats will get to vote to abolish all interior immigration enforcement before the 2018 midterm election

House Democrats have crafted legislation that would abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency — the sole law enforcement unit tasked with arresting and deporting criminal illegal aliens.

On Thursday, McCarthy confirmed to NBC News that he will put the Democrats’ “abolish ICE” legislation up for a vote in the House before Congress’s August recess. Though House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has not endorsed the abolish ICE bill, every Senate Democrat has already signed onto legislation that would end all border and immigration enforcement in a rebuke to President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the latest Harvard/Harris Poll, three in four swing voters said they opposed the Democrats’ plan to end all immigration enforcement across the U.S. Likewise, nearly 60 percent of Democrats said they do not want ICE to be disbanded. Meanwhile, a majority of white, black, and Hispanic Americans say the U.S. needs stricter immigration enforcement as Trump has implemented.

President Trump speaks on Brexit

“I’ve been reading a lot about Brexit over the last couple of days, and it seems to be turning a little bit differently, where they’re getting at least partially involved back with the European Union,” said President Donald J. Trump.

 “It’s not for me to say [what I think of the deal],” the President added: “I would say, that, you know, Brexit is Brexit.  When you use the term ‘Hard Brexit’ I assume that’s what you mean. The people voted to break it up, so I would imagine that’s what they’ll do, but maybe [Theresa May’s government is] taking a little bit of a different route.

 “So, I don’t know if that’s what they voted for,” he remarked — giving his strongest hint that he does not believe the Prime Minister is delivering on the people’s vote to leave. “I just want the people to be happy,” he concluded. “They’re great people.”

 “They like me a lot in the UK. I think they agree with me on immigration,” he observed. “You see what’s going on throughout the world with immigration… I think that’s why Brexit happened.”

July 13 (Friday):  Day 174

Trump:  London Mayor done a “terrible job” on terrorism and crime U.S. President Donald J. Trump speaking about London Mayor Sadiq Khan, said he has done a “terrible job” on terrorism and crime.

“I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad,” the President told The Sun, ahead of his working visit to the United Kingdom. “I look at cities in Europe, and I can be specific if you’d like. You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.  “Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism,” he added.

Khan, who suggested that terrorism was “part and parcel of living in a great global city”, admitted that there were around 200 former Islamic State fighters at large in the British capital shortly after the London Bridge terror attacks. Khan suggested the terror threat had nothing to do with mass migration, claiming that the London Bridge terrorists “hadn’t come from overseas”. (Note:   The three killers were all born abroad in Pakistan and North Africa, and two came to Britain posing as asylum seekers.) Addressing the President’s remarks on the crime being “brought in” to the capital, Khan hit back, suggesting the link between immigration and crime was unproven.

 Silicon Valley Tech for Campaigns mission:  “get Democrats elected”

An organization named Tech for Campaigns and based in Silicon Valley has a new mission — get Democrats elected.

Silicon Valley firm Tech for Campaigns has one primary aim — improve the Democrats’ online game and get them elected to government. The firm is described by the New York Times as a kind of “Democratic Geek Squad” which is comprised of roughly 4,500 tech workers who work day jobs at major Silicon Valley tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Airbnb, and Netflix.

The group was founded by tech executive Jessica Alter who hopes to convince Democrat politicians that they need to massively improve their online campaigns.

“What’s at stake if we don’t build a true centralized digital arm is falling further behind the Republicans and continuing to lose ground, the battles on key issues and elections at every level,” Alter told the New York Times. “If we don’t start now, it will be too late in 2020.”

Alter stated that the group’s biggest task is convincing candidates that social media is one of the most effective campaign platforms. According to recent reports, Democrat party candidates are relying heavily on TV ads and printed mailers. Some Democrats are spending as little as 10 percent of their ad budgets on online advertising while some Republicans are reportedly investing more than 40 percent of their budgets into digital marketing.

Tech for Campaigns has reportedly advised Democratic candidates in approximately 60 races since it was founded.  Tech for Campaigns now has 4,500 volunteers and raised $100,000 in a crowdfunding campaign which allowed it to move into an office in downtown San Francisco, right in the heart of Silicon Valley.

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens JournalVentura Countys online news service, founder of History Makers Internationala community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 24 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email:  [email protected].

Mr. Hernandez is dedicated himself to advance the 13 spheresas a City Upon A Hill; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships and supporting constitutional awareness and active citizenship. 


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